The Making of a Science of Substance after Quantum Mechanics in Japan : the Emergence of "Busseiron" around 1940

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Abstract Summary
It is well known that the appearance of quantum mechanics caused drastic changes in sciences of substance in many aspects, such as their methodologies, objects, and disciplines. By the mid of 20th century, some disciplines—solid-state physics, chemical physics, and quantum chemistry, for example—had been made in the field of sciences of substance. Given their rapid developments and significant impacts on the society, the sciences of substance have enough reasons to attract historical interests. In Japan, a discipline called "busseiron" was formed around 1940, and this was one of the emerging sciences of substance—studies or theories ("ron") of properties ("sei") of matter or substances ("butsu"). This newly formed science contained the contents from the various fields, such as statistical mechanics, solid-state physics, chemical physics, quantum chemistry, and so on, but corresponded to none of the above—this discipline became an epistemological research frame unique to Japan; there is no word corresponding to "busseiron" in other languages. In this talk, I will briefly present the historical process of the formation of "busseiron", considering the context of making of sciences of substance after quantum mechanics—this formation was guided mainly by the physicists in the University of Tokyo under the strong influence of Japanese way to accept quantum mechanics and the tension among the existing research traditions, such as metallography, metallurgy, spectroscopy, nuclear physics, and so on.
Abstract ID :
HSS966
Submission Type
Abstract Topic
Chronological Classification :
20th century, early
Self-Designated Keywords :
physics, chemistry, solid-state physics, chemical physics, quantum chemistry, statistical mechanics

Associated Sessions

Tokyo Institute of Technology / JSPS Research Fellow / UC Berkeley (Visiting Student Researcher)

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